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Bookworm: 'The Marriage Plot' a modern-day love story

By Kat Duncan
July 10, 2013 at 2:10 a.m.


"The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides opens with Madeleine Hanna, an English major with a broken heart. On the day of her graduation, she is confronted with the two men that will shape the rest of her story - and possibly - her life.

Mitchell Grammaticus is an old friend, and Leonard Bankhead is her ex-boyfriend whom she still loves with blinding passion.

All three of these young people are thrust out into the world upon their graduation and must face or avoid the realities of their futures.

Madeleine wrote her thesis on the marriage plot that is intrinsic to the works of literature from her favorite authors such as Jane Austen and George Eliot. Madeleine explores this plot herself through the two men in her life and the choices she makes in relation to them.

She is challenged with loving Leonard and balancing his extreme needs with her own. Leonard struggles with mental illness and is dependent on Madeleine while trying to pursue his career. Mitchell travels after college to find himself and his connection to his faith, but Madeleine is never far from his thoughts.

They are each incredibly intelligent individuals - except when it comes to love.

"The Marriage Plot" follows all three characters as they make the choices that will shape their futures together.

Though this book is about relationships, it is not a lighthearted novel. Madeleine, Mitchell and Leonard are deeply arresting individuals who keep revealing more as the story progresses. The plot itself is fascinating, and Eugenides' use of language is enjoyable to experience.

Madeleine, Mitchell and Leonard are each in pursuit of happiness despite harsh realities like health, money, jobs and the imperfection of their own personal relationships.

Theirs is a love story that encapsulates what it is to be young and idealistic while waiting for life to begin.

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